ManLingo: “smart girl”

16 May

Quite often you will hear men complain that there are no “smart girls” in their social circles to date.  Even a quick perusal of good ol’ Craigslist, that bastion of high standards, will reveal a desire to have sex with date a “smart” or “intelligent” woman.  Educated single women hear/read stuff like this and immediately begin bashing their heads against their desks.  Hello, we’re right here, they think as they silently curse eHarmony, match.com, OKCupid, and the universe.

Several years ago I came to the conclusion that what men mean by “smart” and what women mean by “smart” are really two different things.  When a man says he wants to date/marry a “smart” or “intelligent” woman, he means:

  • A woman who will laugh at his jokes
  • A woman who will be impressed by him/his job/his car/etc.
  • A woman who is only moderately helpless (i.e., needs his help in many different areas of her life but doesn’t have to use her fingers to calculate 2+2)
  • A woman who also meets his minimum standard of attractiveness (because no man who’s surrounded by, say, dumb, homely women is going to complain first that they’re all dumb)

What “smart” or “intelligent” does NOT mean to a man is (not an exhaustive list):

  • Has an IQ exceeding 120
  • Got good grades in high school or was even class valedictorian
  • Got an academic scholarship to college
  • Has a graduate-level degree
  • Knows times tables through 13×13
  • Can easily converse about politics, religion, science, art, music, and popular culture with both breadth and depth
  • Is witty
  • Doesn’t need a calculator to calculate a tip at a restaurant
  • Knows how to change the oil in her car, fix a clogged drain, or hook up the home theater just from reading the manual
  • Has an SAT-worthy vocabulary
  • Is a brilliant writer
  • Reads dozens of non-fiction and/or award-winning books per year
  • Keeps getting promoted at work with stellar job reviews
  • Kills at Brain Age 2
  • Taught herself Latin by reading Harrius Potterus et Philosophi Lapis

This is not to say that a man won’t objectively acknowledge a woman’s brains if she meets criteria from the second list.  It’s just that, for all practical intents and purposes, all he really cares about is the first list.  Plus, it’s simpler (and sounds better) to say “I want to date/marry a smart woman.”

What does a woman mean by “smart”?  She means a keen, quick, analytical mind that can easily and clearly express itself.  Advanced verbal skills (especially syntax and vocabulary) are powerful and attractive indicators of intelligence to a woman, especially when paired with wit.  Intelligence sans social skills/social intelligence is generally not attractive.

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10 Responses to “ManLingo: “smart girl””

  1. Athol Kay: Married Man Sex Life May 17, 2010 at 2:50 pm #

    I once had a serious flirtation with a very pleasant and sexy woman that I worked with. I ended up losing interest because of her appalling grammar via email. True Story.

    But yeah… being clearly smarter than the man is something that can be a turn off to many men.

  2. Aunt Haley May 17, 2010 at 4:06 pm #

    A person who can only write pidgin English in emails needs a LOT of alpha bona fides in person to mitigate that downfall, and even those may not be enough. It’s like being doused with cold water to find out that this otherwise very attractive person in your orbit can only muster caveman scratch in writing.

    Speaking from experience, if you use a word or phrase in conversation that the man doesn’t know the meaning of, it’s pretty much done. You can actually watch the light drain from his eyes in that instant and hear the record scratch.

  3. Athol Kay: Married Man Sex Life May 17, 2010 at 4:09 pm #

    Oh lol that’s awful.

  4. vasafaxa May 25, 2010 at 11:06 am #

    Speaking from experience, if you use a word or phrase in conversation that the man doesn’t know the meaning of, it’s pretty much done. You can actually watch the light drain from his eyes in that instant and hear the record scratch.

    This has happened to me so many times. But on the flip side the light drains from eyes too. I don’t want to date someone who doesn’t get me

  5. Cane Caldo June 18, 2010 at 6:36 am #

    More succinctly: When a man says “smart girl” he is speaking in a mere sense, i.e., not dumb or airheaded. For most of us a brain is a minimum requirement issue; which is generally a good thing since we’re (again, generally) smarter. It keeps everyone’s options open.

    A corollary for women is “funny”. Women to tend to laugh in the direction of attractive men.

  6. Lover of Wisdom July 26, 2010 at 3:46 pm #

    I agree with you in principle, but I’m the rare man that actually likes girls in the second category. What does that say about me?

  7. Thag Jones May 17, 2011 at 6:46 am #

    Speaking from experience, if you use a word or phrase in conversation that the man doesn’t know the meaning of, it’s pretty much done. You can actually watch the light drain from his eyes in that instant and hear the record scratch.

    This has not been my experience. *shrug* I’ve had to explain a meaning here and there, not really a big deal.

  8. Kathy May 17, 2011 at 10:05 pm #

    I agree Thag.. It’s not a big deal.

    To be dismissive of a man over such an inconsequential thing seems rather petty to me..

  9. Andrea November 18, 2013 at 11:02 am #

    It’s even worse if the woman really enjoys talking about philosophy/theology/science/world event and trends. Most other women don’t want to discuss those topics, and if the woman joins the male discussion, she’s effectively taken herself off their romantic radar. So she has two options 1) downplay her braininess/hide her interests and hope she can get a guy thoroughly in love with her before he realizes she’s quite brainy (which is neither honest nor feasible), or 2) be honest about her interests and talents and hope she meets someone with Lover of Wisdom’s tastes eventually.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Word Around the Campfire – the Shake Your Money Maker edition « Hidden Leaves - May 22, 2010

    […] Aunt Haley: ManLingo: “Smart Girl” […]

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